Hakataramea Valley woman Liz Hayes is reliving her childhood with boutique accommodation in the form of treehouses.
“Nest” is the name Mrs Hayes and her husband, Andy, have given their venture, which is still in the construction phase and which they hope will be ready by Christmas.
The couple are building two treehouses, which will actually be on stilts among the canopy of pine trees on the farmland, with spectacular valley views.
“We are trying to make it more of an experience than just a place to stay,” she said.
The couple are dairy farmers first and foremost – Mr Hayes is sixth generation of his family to farm in the valley – but Mrs Hayes said Nest would add “a bit of colour” to the farm and offered a point of difference in the accommodation stakes.
“So, as well as being a physical nest in the canopy of trees on top of a hill, it’s also our family nest that we’re bringing to people too. So it’s a bit of a double meaning in that too, which I quite like about it.
“I was just trying to basically create somewhere with a bit of a point of difference. More of an experience than just a place to stay. Somewhere you can actually get away to, and get as much amongst nature as you’d like to, really.”
The Hayes said that with the Sole to Soul hiking being started up by Juliet Gray and Sally Newlands, and Jules and Murray Elliott (MTB Adventures NZ) running mountain-biking tours with small groups, there were many exciting things really “bringing the valley to life”.
“There’s lots of really cool things.”
A self-described “townie” at heart, Mrs Hayes said she liked the playfulness of having the “plushness of town, but with the rural backdrop”.
“We’re still ironing out the last details, but hoping it could be ready by December.”
The brakes had been put on the project while the couple carried out a dairy conversion on a neighbouring property. But now it was all go again.
“I’m just so excited. I can’t wait for me and Andy to be able to go up there. We’ve got three kids here, so we’ll be like,
The rectangular buildings, which are being made by Shape Construction in Christchurch, would have glass on two sides to maximise the views, while a hot tub sunken into the deck would add an extra luxury “so you can just sit and enjoy”.
There would be hidden cupboards and a television, and hanging chairs; suspension bridges and a “wine-barrel sauna”. Mrs Hayes wanted it to be “stylish and fun”.
The foundations and stilts were being put in place now and the completed buildings would be lowered on to the stilts, so they sat at the level of the tree canopy. Having the treehouses actually built in the trees was not possible due to consent restrictions, Mrs Hayes said.
Oamaru-based interior design company Design Federation was helping with the soft furnishings, to complement the natural look of the Japanese cedar buildings and “plump it up” inside.
“People are travelling more within New Zealand, exploring their backyard,” Mrs Hayes said.
“It’s really cool to see this area being celebrated the way it should be – it’s so beautiful.”